Libre comercio para siempre

NEWTON, MASSACHUSETTS – El 7 de diciembre, representantes de los 159 países miembros de la Organización Mundial del Comercio lograron el primer acuerdo multilateral de comercio en los 19 años de historia de la OMC. Si bien el Acuerdo de Facilitación del Comercio –bautizado «Paquete Bali» debido a que la reunión tuvo lugar en esa isla indonesia– no se ocupó de las cuestiones más apremiantes del comercio norte-sur, constituye un importante hito económico y político.

El Paquete Bali compromete a los miembros de la OMC a avanzar en la reducción de barreras no arancelarias al comercio, por ejemplo, estableciendo normativa aduanera más transparente y reduciendo el papeleo relacionado con el comercio exterior. Estos cambios pueden parecer minucias burocráticas, pero el impacto del acuerdo –que aumentará el producto mundial en 1 billón de dólares y creará 21 millones de puestos de trabajo– será sustancial.

El acuerdo ha sido criticado por no lograr las metas de la OMC fijadas en 2001 en la Agenda de Doha para el Desarrollo. Pero esos objetivos –incluidas la mejora del acceso a los mercados de agricultura, manufacturas y servicios; la clarificación de las normas internacionales de comercio; y el avance sobre cuestiones ambientales relevantes– eran excesivamente ambiciosas. Incluso el modesto Paquete Bali, no estaba garantizado e incluyó un día adicional de negociaciones para lograr acuerdos sobre temas polémicos, como los subsidios a granjas en India y el embargo estadounidense a Cuba.

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